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Preparing for snake season

Dedicated snake catcher Lisa Harrap left a Melbourne Cup day lunch in Kalamunda when a call came through from a couple with a dugite in their backyard, and with snakes more active during November she’s expecting this month to be busy.

Ms Harrap swapped her high heels for gumboots when the call came through but she kept on her party frock and fascinator to catch the reptile, which she later released in Mundy regional park.

The licensed reptile remover runs Perth Reptile Company with her partner which started three years ago with the purpose of selling reptile keeping accessories.

Ms Harrap said the business now does educational reptile displays and reptile license transfers.

“The displays are educational and we have recently been doing lots of daycare centers and some primary schools,” she said.

“The main thing is teach children what to do if they see a snake in the wild and how to stay calm, step back slowly and tell someone where and what they saw and they get to have a hands on experience meeting some non-venomous snakes.

“We also teach them the difference between bobtails and blue tongue lizards.”

Keeping dogs safe from snakes is the aim of Animal Ark’s snake avoidances classes for dogs, which has a good success rate according to owner David Manning.

He started the classes after he saw the snake handling technique’s success in America.

The training uses a low-level static correction collar so dogs learn close proximity to the interesting object – a snake – will be unpleasant and a negative association is made.

This teaches the dog to make its own decision to avoid snakes.

Mr Manning said it was important to use venomous snakes as these were the dangerous species dogs needed to avoid.

“We take them for a short walk and they come across a couple of target snakes in containers,” he said.

“When the dogs approach the container and give it a sniff they get a correction using an e-collar.

“Although it’s only a small shock for the dogs they believe it’s the snake that’s giving them that so they back away from it.”

Mr Manning said if a dog was bitten it was important to stay calm and carry the dog so it had minimal movement.

“If you are at a vet within an hour the survival rate is 90 per cent.”

Animal Ark is fully licensed with the Department of Parks and Wildlife in WA to deliver wildlife education.

More information about the snake avoidance classes for dogs can be found at http://tinyurl.com/pcumtjz

About Rashelle Predovnik

Rashelle has been the senior journalist at Echo News since June 2011. She was a finalist in the WA Media Awards in 2015 and 2013. In 2014 Rashelle took out the whole print category in the Deborah Kirwan Media Awards for a series of stories she wrote that has positively influenced community attitudes towards seniors. In 2013, Rashelle was a finalist in the Consumer Protection Media Awards. Before joining Echo News, Rashelle worked at WA Business News, Media Monitors, she was a freelance journalist and taught journalism units at Murdoch University.

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